The book of lost tales p.., p.9
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.9J. R. R. Tolkien
Few are they and happy indeed for whom at a season doth Nornorë the herald of the Gods set out. Then ride they with him in chariots or upon good horses down into the vale of Valinor and feast in the halls of Valmar, dwelling in the houses of the Gods until the Great End come.
§ 2. Places and peoples in the Tale of Tinúviel
To consider first what can be learned of the geography of the Great Lands from this tale: the early ‘dictionary’ of the Gnomish language makes it clear that the meaning of Artanor was ‘the Land Beyond’, as it is interpreted in the text (p. 9). Several passages in the Lost Tales cast light on this expression. In an outline for Gilfanon’s untold tale (I. 240) the Noldoli exiled from Valinor
now fought for the first time with the Ores and captured the pass of the Bitter Hills; thus they escaped from the Land of Shadows…They entered the Forest of Artanor and the Region of the Great Plains…
(which latter, I suggested, may be the forerunner of the later Talath Dirnen, the Guarded Plain of Nargothrond). The tale to follow Gilfanon’s, according to the projected scheme (I. 241), was to be that of Tinúviel, and this outline begins: ‘Beren son of Egnor wandered out of Dor Lómin [i.e. Hisilómë, see I. 112] into Artanor…’ In the present tale, it is said that Beren came ‘through the terrors of the Iron Mountains until he reached the Lands Beyond’ (p. 11), and also (p. 21) that some of the Dogs ‘roamed the woods of Hisilómë or passing the mountainous places fared even at times into the region of Artanor and the lands beyond and to the south’. And finally, in the Tale of Turambar (p. 72) there is a reference to ‘the road over the dark hills of Hithlum into the great forests of the Land Beyond where in those days Tinwelint the hidden king had his abode’.
It is quite clear, then, that Artanor, afterwards called Doriath (which appears in the title to the typescript text of the Tale of Tinúviel, together with an earlier form Dor Athro, p. 41), lay in the original conception in much the same relation to Hisilómë (the Land of Shadow(s), Dor Lómin, Aryador) as does Doriath to Hithlum (Hisilómë) in The Silmarillion: to the south, and divided from it by a mountain-range, the Iron Mountains or Bitter Hills.
In commenting on the tale of The Theft of Melko and the Darkening of Valinor I have noticed (I. 158–9) that whereas in the Lost Tales Hisilómë is declared to be beyond the Iron Mountains, it is also said (in the Tale of Turambar, p. 77) that these mountains were so named from Angband, the Hells of Iron, which lay beneath ‘their northernmost fastnesses’, and that therefore there seems to be a contradictory usage of the term ‘Iron Mountains’ within the Lost Tales—‘unless it can be supposed that these mountains were conceived as a continuous range, the southerly extension (the later Mountains of Shadow) forming the southern fence of Hisilómë, while the northern peaks, being above Angband, gave the range its name’.
Now in the Tale of Tinúviel Beren, journeying north from Artanor, ‘drew nigh to the lower hills and treeless lands that warned of the approach of the bleak Iron Mountains’ (p. 14). These he had previously traversed, coming out of Hisilómë but now ‘he followed the Iron Mountains till he drew nigh to the terrible regions of Melko’s abode’. This seems to support the suggestion that the mountains fencing Hisilómë from the Lands Beyond were continuous with those above Angband; and we may compare the little primitive map (I. 81), where the mountain range f isolates Hisilómë (g): see I. 112, 135. The implication is that ‘dim’ or ‘black’ Hisilómë had no defence against Melko.
There appear now also the Mountains of Night (pp. 20, 46–7), and it seems clear that the great pinewoods of Taurfuin, the Forest of Night, grew upon those heights (in The Silmarillion Dorthonion ‘Land of Pines’, afterwards named Taur-nu-Fuin). Dairon was lost there, but Tinúviel, though she passed near, did not enter ‘that dark region’. There is nothing to show that it was not placed then as it was later—to the east of Ered Wethrin, the Mountains of Shadow. It is also at least possible that the description (in the manuscript version only, p. 23) of Tinúviel, on departing from Huan, leaving ‘the shelter of the trees’ and coming to ‘a region of long grass’ is a first intimation of the great plain of Ard-galen (called after its desolation Anfauglith and Dor-nu-Fauglith), especially if this is related to the passage in the typescript version telling of Tinúviel’s meeting with Huan ‘in a little glade nigh to the forest’s borders, where the first grasslands begin that are nourished by the upper waters of the river Sirion’ (p. 47).
After their escape from Angamandi Huan found Beren and Tinúviel ‘in that northward region of Artanor that was called afterward Nan Dumgorthin, the land of the dark idols’ (p. 35). In the Gnomish dictionary Nan Dumgorthin is defined as ‘a land of dark forest east of Artanor where on a wooded mountain were hidden idols sacrificed to by some evil tribes of renegade men’ (dum ‘secret, not to be spoken’, dumgort, dungort ‘an (evil) idol’). In the Lay of the Children of Húrin in alliterative verse Túrin and his companion Flinding (later Gwindor), fleeing after the death of Beleg Strongbow, came to this land:
There the twain enfolded phantom twilight
and dim mazes dark, unholy,
in Nan Dungorthin where nameless gods
have shrouded shrines in shadows secret,
more old than Morgoth or the ancient lords
the golden Gods of the guarded West.
But the ghostly dwellers of that grey valley
hindered nor hurt them, and they held their course
with creeping flesh and quaking limb.
Yet laughter at whiles with lingering echo,
as distant mockery of demon voices
there harsh and hollow in the hushed twilight
Flinding fancied, fell, unwholesome…
There are, I believe, no other references to the gods of Nan Dumgorthin. In the poem the land was placed west of Sirion; and finally, as Nan Dungortheb ‘the Valley of Dreadful Death’, it becomes in The Silmarillion (pp. 81, 121) a ‘no-land’ between the Girdle of Melian and Ered Gorgoroth, the Mountains of Terror. But the description of it in the Tale of Tinúviel as a ‘northward region of Artanor’ clearly does not imply that it lay within the protective magic of Gwendeling, and it seems that this ‘zone’ was originally less distinctly bounded, and less extensive, than ‘the Girdle of Melian’ afterwards became. Probably Artanor was conceived at this time as a great region of forest in the heart of which was Tinwelint’s cavern, and only his immediate domain was protected by the power of the queen:
Hidden was his dwelling from the vision and knowledge of Melko by the magics of Gwendeling the fay, and she wove spells about the paths thereto that none but the Eldar might tread them easily, and so was the king secured from all dangers save it be treachery alone. (p. 9).
It seems, also, that her protection was originally by no means so complete and so mighty a wall of defence as it became. Thus, although Orcs and wolves disappeared when Beren and Tinúviel ‘stepped within the circle of Gwendeling’s magic that hid the paths from evil things and kept harm from the regions of the woodelves’ (p. 35), the fear is expressed that even if Beren and Tinúviel reached the cavern of King Tinwelint ‘they would but draw the chase behind them thither’ (p. 34), and Tinwelint’s people feared that Melko would ‘upraise his strength and come utterly to crush them and Gwendeling’s magic have not the strength to withhold the numbers of the Orcs’ (p. 36).
The picture of Menegroth beside Esgalduin, accessible only by the bridge (The Silmarillion pp. 92–3) goes back to the beginning, though neither cave nor river are named in the tale. But (as will be seen more emphatically in later tales in this book) Tinwelint, the wood-fairy in his cavern, had a long elevation before him, to become ultimately Thingol of the Thousand Caves (‘the fairest dwelling of any king that has ever been east of the Sea’). In the beginning, Tinwelint’s dwelling was not a subterranean city full of marvels, silver fountains falling into basins of marble and pillars carved like trees, but a rugged cave; and if in the typescript version the cave comes to be ‘vaulted immeasureable’, it is sti
There have been earlier references in the Lost Tales to Tinwelint and the place of his dwelling. In a passage added to, but then rejected from, the tale of The Chaining of Melko (I. 106, note 1) it is said that he was lost in Hisilómë and met Wendelin there; ‘loving her he was content to leave his folk and dance for ever in the shadows’. In The Coming of the Elves (I. 115) ‘Tinwë abode not long with his people, and yet ’tis said lives still lord of the scattered Elves of Hisilómë’ and in the same tale (I. 118–19) the ‘Lost Elves’ were still there ‘long after when Men were shut in Hisilómë by Melko’, and Men called them the Shadow Folk, and feared them. But in the Tale of Tinúviel the conception has changed. Tinwelint is now a king r’uling, not in Hisilómë, but in Artanor.* (It is not said where it was that he came upon Gwendeling.)
In the account (manuscript version only, see pp. 9, 42) of Tinwelint’s people there is mention of Elves ‘who remained in the dark’ and this obviously refers to Elves who never left the Waters of Awakening. (Of course those who were lost on the march from Palisor also never left ‘the dark’ (i.e. they never came to the light of the Trees), but the distinction made in this sentence is not between the darkness and the light but between those who remained and those who set out). On the emergence of this idea in the course of the writing of the Lost Tales see I. 234. Of Tinwelint’s subjects ‘the most were Ilkorindi’, and they must be those who ‘had been lost upon the march from Palisor’ (earlier, ‘the Lost Elves of Hisilómë’).
Here, a major difference in essential conception between the old legend and the form in The Silmarillion is apparent. These Ilkorindi of Tinwelint’s following (‘eerie and strange beings’ whose ‘dark songs and chantings…faded in the wooded places or echoed in deep caves’) are described in terms applicable to the wild Avari (‘the Unwilling’) of The Silmarillion; but they are of course actually the precursors of the Grey-elves of Doriath. The term Eldar is here equivalent to Elves (‘all the Eldar both those who remained in the dark or had been lost upon the march from Palisor’) and is not restricted to those who made, or at least embarked on, the Great Journey; all were Ilkorindi—Dark Elves—if they never passed over the Sea. The later significance of the Great Journey in conferring ‘Eldarin’ status was an aspect of the elevation of the Grey-elves of Beleriand, bringing about a distinction of the utmost importance within the category of the Moriquendi or ‘Elves of the Darkness’—the Avari (who were not Eldar) and the Úmanyar (the Eldar who were ‘not of Aman’): see the table ‘The Sundering of the Elves’ given in The Silmarillion. Thus:
Eldar: of Kôr
Eldar: of the Great Lands (the Darkness): Ilkorindi
Eldar (of the Great Journey): of Aman
Eldar (of the Great Journey): of Middle-earth (Úmanyar)
But among Tinwelint’s subjects there were also Noldoli, Gnomes. This matter is somewhat obscure, but at least it may be observed that the manuscript and typescript versions of the Tale of Tinúviel do not envisage precisely the same situation.
The manuscript text is perhaps not perfectly explicit on the subject, but it is said (p. 9) that of Tinwelint’s subjects ‘the most were Ilkorindi’, and that before the rising of the Sun ‘already were their numbers mingled with a many wandering Gnomes’. Yet Dairon fled from the apparition of Beren in the forest because ‘all the Elves of the woodland thought of the Gnomes of Dor Lómin as treacherous creatures, cruel and faithless’ (p. 11); and ‘Dread and suspicion was between the Eldar and those of their kindred that had tasted the slavery of Melko, and in this did the evil deeds of the Gnomes at the Haven of the Swans revenge itself’ (p. 11). The hostility of the Elves of Artanor to Gnomes was, then, specifically a hostility to the Gnomes of Hisilómë (Dor Lómin), who were suspected of being under the will of Melko (and this is probably a foreshadowing of the suspicion and rejection of Elves escaped from Angband described in The Silmarillion p. 156). In the manuscript it is said (p. 9) that all the Elves of the Great Lands (those who remained in Palisor, those who were lost on the march, and the Noldoli returned from Valinor) fell beneath the power of Melko, though many escaped and wandered in the wild; and as the manuscript text was first written (see p. 11 and note 3) Beren was ‘son of a thrall of Melko’s…that laboured in the darker places in the north of Hisilómë’. This conception seems reasonably clear, so far as it goes.
In the typescript version it is expressly stated that there were Gnomes ‘in Tinwelint’s service’ (p. 43): the bridge over the forest river, leading to Tinwelint’s door, was hung by them. It is not now stated that all the Elves of the Great Lands fell beneath Melko; rather there are named several centres of resistance to his power, in addition to Tinwelint/Thingol in Artanor: Turgon of Gondolin, the Sons of Fëanor, and Egnor of Hisilómë (Beren’s father)—one of the chiefest foes of Melko ‘in all the kin of the Gnomes that still were free’ (p. 44). Presumably this led to the exclusion in the typescript of the passage telling that the woodland Elves thought of the Gnomes of Dor Lómin as treacherous and faithless (see p. 43), while that concerning the distrust of those who had been Melko’s slaves was retained. The passage concerning Hisilómë ‘where dwelt Men, and thrall-Noldoli laboured, and few free-Eldar went’ (p.10) was also retained; but Hisilómë, in Beren’s wish that he had never strayed out of it, becomes ‘the wild free places of Hisilómë’ (pp. 17, 45).
This leads to an altogether baffling question, that of the references to the Battle of Unnumbered Tears; and several of the passages just cited bear on it.
The story of ‘The Travail of the Noldoli and the Coming of Mankind’ that was to have been told by Gilfanon, but which after its opening pages most unhappily never got beyond the stage of outline projections, was to be followed by that of Beren and Tinúviel (see I. 241). After the Battle of Unnumbered Tears there is mention of the Thraldom of the Noldoli, the Mines of Melko, the Spell of Bottomless Dread, the shutting of Men in Hisilómë, and then ‘Beren son of Egnor wandered out of Dor Lómin into Artanor…’ (In The Silmarillion the deeds of Beren and Lúthien preceded the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.)
Now in the Tale of Tinúviel there is a reference, in both versions, to the ‘thrall-Noldoli’ who laboured in Hisilómë and of Men dwelling there; and as the passage introducing Beren was first written in the manuscript his father was one of these slaves. It is said, again in both versions, that neither Tinwelint nor the most part of his people went to the battle, but that his lordship was greatly increased by fugitives from it (p. 9); and to the following statement that his dwelling was hidden by the magic of Gwendeling/Melian the typescript adds the word ‘thereafter’ (p. 43), i.e. after the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. In the changed passage in the typescript referring to Egnor he is one of the chiefest foes of Melko ‘in all the kin of the Gnomes that still were free’.
All this seems to allow of only one conclusion: the events of the Tale of Tinúviel took place after the great battle; and this seems to be clinched by the express statement in the typescript: where the manuscript (p. 15) says that Melko ‘sought ever to destroy the friendship and intercourse of Elves and Men’, the second version adds (p. 44): ‘lest they forget the Battle of Unnumbered Tears and once more arise in wrath against him’.
It is very odd, therefore, that Vëannë should say at the beginning (in the manuscript only, p. 10 and see p. 43) that she will tell ‘of things that happened in the halls of Tinwelint after the arising of the Sun indeed but long ere the unforgotten Battle of Unnumbered Tears’. (This in any case seems to imply a much longer period between the two events than is suggested in the outlines for Gilfanon’s Tale: see I. 242). This is repeated later (p. 17): ‘it was a thing unthought…that any Elf…should fare untended to the halls of Melko, even in those earlier days before the Battle of Tears when Melko’s power had not grown great…’ But it is stranger still that this second sentence is retained i
Melko ‘sought ever to destroy the friendship and intercourse of Elves and Men, lest they forget the Battle of Unnumbered Tears’ (p. 44);
‘Little love was there between the woodland Elves and the folk of Angband even in those days before the Battle of Unnumbered Tears’ (p. 45).
Such a radical contradiction within a single text is in the highest degree unusual, perhaps unique, in all the writings concerned with the First Age. But I can see no way to explain it, other than simply accepting it as a radical contradiction; nor indeed can I explain those statements in both versions that the events of the tale took place before the battle, since virtually all indications point to the contrary.*
§ 3. Miscellaneous Matters
Beren addresses Melko as ‘most mighty Belcha Morgoth’, which are said to be his names among the Gnomes (p. 44). In the Gnomish dictionary Belcha is given as the Gnomish form corresponding to Melko (see I. 260), but Morgoth is not found in it: indeed this is the first and only appearance of the name in the Lost Tales. The element goth is given in the Gnomish dictionary with the meaning ‘war, strife’ but if Morgoth meant at this period ‘Black Strife’ it is perhaps strange that Beren should use it in a flattering speech. A name-list made in the 1930s explains Morgoth as ‘formed from his Orc-name Goth “Lord or Master” with mor “dark or black” prefixed’, but it seems very doubtful that this etymology is valid for the earlier period. This name-list explains Gothmog ‘Captain of Balrogs’ as containing the same Orc-element (‘Voice of Goth (Morgoth)’); but in the name-list to the tale of The Fall of Gondolin (p. 216) the name Gothmog is said to mean ‘Strife-and-hatred’ (mog-‘detest, hate’ appears in the Gnomish dictionary), which supports the interpretation of Morgoth in the present tale as ‘Black Strife’.*
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